The HTML and PDF file formats have both been around for nearly 30 years. HTML was created in late 1991 and Adobe announced PDF version 1.0 at Comdex Fall in 1992.
Even though they’ve both had nearly three decades of development, they each have advantages and disadvantages. PDF is particularly useful and sometimes you may want to do an HTML conversion into that format.
Why Would You Convert From HTML to PDF?
HTML is the language used to create web pages. HTML code tells your web browser how to lay out the page, what fonts to use, what images to display, and various other pieces of information.
The trouble with HTML is that it can display differently on different devices and different browsers. This makes it hard to be sure everyone sees the same thing.
PDF is a more consistent format that looks the same on virtually any computer or other device. You can open a PDF file on a smartphone and while it might be hard to read, if you zoom in it will look the same as it does on a PC.
Converting HTML to PDF lets you take advantage of that universal compatibility while maintaining all the content of the web page. The PDF file will have the same layout, the same fonts and images, and can even include live links from the HTML page.
You can also combine several web pages or even completely different websites into a single PDF file, giving you more flexibility with the content.
How to Create a PDF Through HTML Conversion
There are several ways to convert HTML to PDF. Some are easier than others but the easier methods don’t give you as much flexibility.
Print to PDF
The easiest way to convert HTML to PDF is to use the “print to PDF” function that’s built into most modern operating systems. This feature lets you “print” a web page but instead of sending it to your printer, it saves it as a PDF file.
The disadvantage of this method is that you won’t get live links in the PDF file. If you want to make the links on the page clickable, you’ll need to take some extra steps with a PDF editor.
PDF Editing and Creation Software
Software like Adobe Acrobat, PDFpen, and Xodo PDF will convert HTML pages into PDF files while maintaining all the links, fonts, and other design components. You simply tell the app what page you want to convert and it downloads it from the web and creates a PDF.
You can also use this type of software to add links and other changes to a PDF created with the print to PDF tool but if you’re going to take the extra step, why not just use the app to do it in the first place?
Custom Coded Apps
Another option is to create a custom app to convert between HTML and PDF. This requires some technical know-how though — you’ll need to have the coding skills to write the app.
Tools like ActivePDF make the job easier by providing a lot of the functionality. Drop the conversion library code into your app and it does most of the heavy lifting.
Converting HTML to PDF Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated
HTML conversion into PDF files might seem complicated at first but it doesn’t have to be. With the three options we outlined in this article, you can make it as easy or as complicated as you want.
Check out the rest of our blog for more helpful articles about getting the most out of technology.